Sky’s pundits for Thursday’s meeting with Arsenal suggested Curtis Jones should worry about Thiago. Fortunately, they have it wrong.
Thiago arrived for £20m last month and that should put every Liverpool player on notice – the standards are getting higher. The Spaniard is one of the world’s best midfielders, after all, a truly elite player.
And that’ll be why Sky’s pundits believe Curtis Jones should worry about Thiago.
“I don’t see [Jones] playing at the moment, I’ don’t see him getting in the team,” Paul Merson said on Sky Sports before Liverpool played Arsenal on Thursday. “He’s probably sitting there thinking ‘I’m doing alright at the moment, I’m playing well.’ And then all of a sudden Thiago comes in and you think ‘where does that leave me’.
Jamie Redknapp then intervened – “I would guess [Jones] would be more up against [Gini] Wijnaldum or the further forward players. He’s one of those who will get forward and score goals.”
“If push comes to shove, I think Thiago plays more further forward than Jones,” Merson replied.
“I know what you’re saying, Merse,” said Redknapp. “At 19 years old at the moment for him it’s so important to stay in the competition for Liverpool. This is where he’s going to get his games.”
To sum up – we don’t think there’s anything to worry about. Thiago is 29, Jones is 19. They’re players for different eras at the club.
Jones is clearly one for the future. He’ll get some games over the next couple of years but it’s post-Thiago that you expect him to make his true mark on the club.
Thiago is here to kick the champions up a gear and he’s one of the few players who could do it. He comes in as a midfield playmaker, someone who can control the middle of the pitch through passing and a great touch. That’s something Liverpool simply haven’t had.
Which brings us to point no.2 – they play different roles.
Thiago is typically the deepest in midfield, or perhaps alongside a defensive midfielder. Jones, on the other hand, looks to break forward, get into the box, and threaten the goal. It will virtually never be a choice of one or the other.
Thus Merson’s comments that Thiago would play higher up don’t really make sense. We hope Liverpool haven’t signed him to do that, anyway – he hasn’t played that role since he was Jones’ age and at Barcelona.
So Jones doesn’t need to worry about Thiago. Instead, he should revel in the chance to learn from one of the world’s elite midfielders over the next few years.